July 16, 2010

She would have been 103

The Great Barbara Stanwyck. In my opinion, the best actress of Hollywood's Golden Age. My favorite actress.

I'm always inspired by her life story. Starting off as just a poor orphan nobody from Flatbush, she went on to become one of Hollywood's greatest legends, one of its greatest actresses. (As the Siren has asked: Did she ever give a bad performance?)

I love that she was hardworking and professional, that she was friendly with the grips and the stagehands on set and never put on airs. I love the realness she projects on screen. The fact that she never won an Oscar is just another reason why the Oscars should never be taken seriously.

I happened to catch THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS on TCM this morning -- one of my favorite Stanwyck films. So, so dark! So, so perverse! Stanwyck is legendary thanks to DOUBLE INDEMNITY, but I think she's even better in MARTHA IVERS.

(It's a freaking travesty, though, that this film, being in the public domain, hasn't been remastered and given the five-star treatment. Is there a good DVD print of this film anywhere? It deserves the best but I've yet to run across a real high class DVD from any major studio.)

Stanwyck could play it all, from deadly femme fatales to suffering mothers to slang-talking tootsies to girls from the wrong side of the tracks to noble family matriarchs. I know names like Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn get thrown around as the best actresses to come out of classic Hollywood, but for my money, it's Stanwyck.

She would have been 103 years old today.

Happy Birthday, Miss Stanwyck.


  1. J--

    Paramount Home Video released Ivers to DVD in 2005 but that disc is now OOP. I can't give you a definite on the video quality because...well, I'm ashamed to admit I've never taken it out of the wrapping.

  2. For gosh sakes, man! Take it out of the wrapping and watch that flick right now! ;)

    Thanks for the heads up, though. I didn't know Paramount had released a DVD. Actually, the print they showed on TCM today was much better than some of the horrible garbage versions that I've seen elsewhere on low-budget DVDs. But still, I wonder if the film can be cleaned up even more. I'll have to look into the 2005 Paramount one...

    In addition to a restored and refurbished print, though, I also think the movie deserves a deluxe DVD with lots of extras, maybe a commentary track, featurettes, the whole nine yards kinda thing. I think it's just as deserving as any of the classic noirs like "Out of the Past" or "Double Indemnity."